IN an unprecedented collaboration, six local suburban councils in Melbourne are coming together to ask the public how they can better support LGBTI communities.

Spearheaded by the City of Hobsons Bay, the group of councils will hold a community forum to consult with LGBTI and queer people as part of Go West — the mini-festival based in Melbourne’s western suburbs that runs annually alongside the Midsumma festival.

Hobsons Bay held a similar forum during the 2010 festival, but this year have expanded the scope of the event by bringing on board the Maribyrnong, Moonee Valley, Brimbank, Wyndham and Melton councils.

As well as reflecting on existing LGBTI initiatives in the area, forum organisers hope it will also be a chance to identify what still needs to be done.

City of Hobsons Bay Mayor Colleen Gates said it would be an opportunity to follow up on the council’s last LGBTI forum.

“Council is committed to better understanding the needs of the GLBTIQ community and building on the work of the past four years since the last forum in 2010,” she said.

Findings from the forum will be presented to the city councils involved.

Go West became part of the Midsumma program in 2010 as an initiative of the City of Hobsons Bay, and at the time was the council’s first event specifically for the LGBTI community.

The involvement of other city councils in Melbourne’s western suburbs has continued to grow the event’s program, which has run annually alongside the main Midsumma festival.

Out is In — Where to next? is on Wednesday, February 18 at 6pm, at The Substation in Newport. Tickets are free but booking is essential. For details, click here.

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